A Moroccan Palette

Our trip to Morocco spanned across ten days.  We started our journey in Marrakech and would eventually end our tour in Rabat.  During our time we journey through UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ancient fortresses, exotic orchards, and numerous historical landmarks.

On our first day in Marrakech, we explored the exquisite Villa Oasis and gardens, a testament to the influence of French art and society on Morocco. Originally the creation of artist Jacques Majorelle, the twelve-acre Majorelle Garden was purchased in 1980 by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. Eager to escape his “destiny” running his father’s art nouveau design studios, Majorelle found in Morocco the ideal light, color and exoticism to suit his interests in painting. In the 1920s he ventured from Marrakech into the then mostly uncharted realms of the High Atlas mountains, painting their villages and tribesmen. After receiving a large orchard, Majorelle imported exotic plants from all over the world to create a private paradise. Only about a fourth of the original garden is left, though it was meticulously restored to its original beauty and color by the late Yves St. Laurent. Majorelle’s garden house is now the unique Museum of Berber Culture.

~

A morning walk took us into the Kasbah of Tangier, where we saw its rich produce markets and the American Legation Museum: The sole monument outside U.S. territories registered as a National Historic Landmark, the Legation first came into our hands in 1821 as a gift from the Sultan. Hidden in the maze of the kasbah, it offered a beautiful museum of everything related to the city and foreign presence there: paintings by expatriates as well a native Moroccans, old maps, documents, crafts, even Malcolm Forbes’s miniature Moroccan battle scenes. We visited the monument with its Director. For lunch we were the guests in a private home on Tangier’s famed Hill, with its vast garden cascading down toward to sea.

~

We spent our final night in Morocco in the luxurious Villa Mandarine, a boutique hotel in the diplomatic enclave of Rabat. Each room was individually decorated in the lush colors of Moroccan art and textiles, matched with a variety of vegetation and gardens. The rooms opened onto private terraces, offering us the rare opportunity for a few minutes of peace to enjoy the final evening of our tour through Morocco.

Home now, we’re already planning our next trips.  Hopefully, we will be returning to Morocco soon, but until then, it will surely be missed.

Advertisements