Neighborhood Report: Rue Majorelle
When an escape from the hustle and bustle of the medina is needed, head to Rue Majorelle. After all, it’s where Yves Saint Laurent retreated to when in Marrakech. And with the recent new concept shops opening up, it’s also an attractive shopping destination.
Today, Majorelle Gardens is a popular destination, attracting 600,000 visitors yearly.
Wander amongst the bamboo and admire the various cacti and of course the gorgeous art deco home formerly owned by famed Moroccan artist Jacques Majorelle and most recently Yves Saint Laurent.
Step inside the Majorelle blue-painted home where the Museum of Berber Arts houses a comprehensive collection of handicrafts traditional to the Berber people. The detailed textile and jewelery collections provide interesting insight into the various Berber tribes across Morocco.
The Berber language has outlived most languages of Antiquity including Ancient Greek, Latin and Egyptian and is still spoken throughout many parts of Morocco today.
Before leaving the gardens, be sure to check out the collection of Love posters Yves Saint Laurent sent to his friends every New Year. And then be sure to hit the gift shop to buy postcard versions to mail to your friends back home!
Before moving on from the area, you may want to consider hitting the shops. This street is quickly becoming home to several boutiques in Marrakech, creating a small community feel. In fact, Yehia Abdelnour, co-owner of 33 Rue Majorelle, boutique, explains that he thought that acquiring several shops and combining them into one large single space creating a concept store, an art gallery, and a snack and juice bar, would impose an imprint on the neighborhood and, given the surroundings, could create a small village-like experience.
33 Rue Majorelle
Fashionistas and home décor enthusiasts will not want to miss this place! Spread over two levels, this unique concept store brings together product lines ranging from fashion, beauty products and interior design. And the number of products is increasing regularly.
Monique Bresson, one of company co-owners, meets with two to three designers each week and bases her selection on the criteria that the designer is based in Morocco and can blend the famous Moroccan craftsmanship into modern designs, explains Abdelnour.
Must-have: Since the store is spread out over two levels, we can’t pick just one! Perhaps some bright slippers. Or something bold from Agadir-based designer Max & Jan. Or the cactus-inspired leather poufs designed by Olivier Poujol for Bikazi, a way to bring back memories of your trip to Majorelle Gardens.
This small boutique is filled with modern Moroccan handicrafts with its collection ranging from scarves to handbags and clothing.
Must-have: Silkscreen tee featuring a black-and-white photo of a Berber woman and adorned with Berber jewelery. A unique and trendy souvenir!
Arabic lesson: Hadaya means gift
For a more relaxed carpet-shopping experience, head to Anitan. The collection of vintage Ben Ourain and Boucherouite carpets are sure to tempt you. Or head upstairs for a selection of traditional and authentic textiles for the home. In fact, the shop owners work with local artisans to teach future generations traditional weaving and pottery skills.
Must-have: Striped cotton bath linens, a wonderfully soft towel produced locally, ensuring the rural savoir-faire is not lost.
Step inside this peaceful bookshop where you may be tempted by one of the several coffee table books on display highlighting Moroccan arts and crafts, interior design and more!
Must-have: A vintage poster used to advertise travel throughout Morocco.
A quick bite before leaving, head to Kaowa for a light menu.
Must-try: Stop by the old-fashioned gelato cart to pick up a bowl of ice cream for the walk back. Romantic and refreshing!
Darija (Moroccan Arabic) lesson: Kaowa means coffee
Time to go!
When the shopping bags get too heavy and it’s time to head back, why not opt for a horse and carriage for a romantic ride through town?
Price: Approximately 150 Dhs per hour.