After 2.5 months in Morocco, it is time to leave for another country. We have to return to Marrakech before taking the plane to Lisbon. This suits us because we still have a few places to visit in Marrakech.
Part 1: Travel Diary
Day 1 : Return to Marrakech
There are only two CTM buses leaving Essaouira for Marrakech during the day. The first one leaves only at 12:45 pm. We still have time to make a call with a client, have lunch (our owner cooked us a chicken tagine) and pack our bags. It’s going to be weird to leave Essaouira, after 2 months in this apartment (it’s huge for us!).
This is the 3rd time we go to Marrakech. We talked about the 1st time here, the 2nd time here. Unfortunately, it still hasn’t changed my opinion: this city isn’t at all representative of Morocco, and we have to run away quickly.
After having been tricked several times in Marrakech, this time we are broken in at the exit of the bus station. We negotiate the prices at 20dh (instead of 80dh = 8€), direction our riad: Dar Asdika(link Booking). It is a riad that I recommend, because the service is excellent! The neighborhood is a bit dead in the evening, so it’s worth booking dinner at the riad (which is delicious and super consistent).
One makes the turn of the souk, then one leaves in search of a good hammam/spa (in vain), before finishing in a not very good spa. JB goes to the barber just next door then we dine at the riad and sleep.
Day 2: Majorelle Garden & El Badii Palace
We are really lazy to move but it is hotter outside than inside so we are motivated around 10h30 (whereas the initial plan was to go out at 8h30 oops).
Arrived in front of Majorelle’s garden, we are astonished to see a long queue (30 minutes of waiting minimum).
But by a stroke of luck, the guards show us a priority checkout with literally no waiting. We wonder why we are privileged and not the others. They answer us “because you have a child”.
I’m offended as hell, thinking that the “child” they were talking about was me (I’m small and my face is young, but not that young). I was preparing an answer full of
insults of indignation when one understands that they are referring to the child who happened to be behind us with his father. We explain to him that we aren’t together, but we ask if we can go anyway. With a big smile, it passes and we avoid at least 30 minutes in line.
I clarify this anecdote, because if I had to wait 30 minutes, pay a fortune (18€/person for the whole complex, including the Berber museum and the Yves Saint Laurent museum), I would have sulked!
Because this garden is just big, but nothing exceptional (ah yes, giant cacti maybe). I prefer the secret garden, closer to the city center, and just as quiet.
I put here the description of the official website, because I have nothing good to say about this garden 🙂
The celebrity of the garden created by Jacques Majorelle in his property acquired in 1923 on the edge of the palm grove of Marrakech will accompany, even exceed, that of his painted works. Throughout his travels, the artist became a gardener to bring back from the four corners of the world, or exchange with distant correspondents as passionate about botany as he is, hundreds of rare varieties of trees and plants
Let’s say it’s the ideal frame for Instagram photos. The Berber museum, with its contrast of blue paint, details in yellow, looks great on the pictures.
There are no signs in this garden and an army of guards is put there just to guide the tourists (turn left/right). There is a queue to take pictures.
Yves Saint-Laurent Museum
Armed with our combined tickets, we again pass in front of everyone to visit the exhibition part of the museum, and then the museum itself, which is smaller than in my imagination, with rather complete information about his career. You can even see her haute couture creations up close, which is a first for me.
I will say that the visit of Majorelle’s garden + Yves Saint Laurent’s museum is optional. Then, everyone has his own opinion.
access info: about 20dh by cab from the center of Marrakech
70dh for the Majorelle garden
30dh for the Berber museum
100dh for the Yves Saint Laurent museum
Combined ticket: 180dh. Possibility to pay by credit card
El Badii Palace
In spite of our laziness, we are then motivated to go to the El Badii Palace, because we heard that it was very pretty. It is the place where the “Marrakech of laughter” takes place every year. I always wondered why there was such a large place, surrounded by walls, what was the point of it etc. I always wondered why there was such a large place.
I don’t regret going there because the way to the palace is worthy of a movie set.
I put here the plan so that you can better imagine the place.
We first visit an exhibition in the basement with period photos. There is this extraordinary photo of a carnival in Marrakech in the 30s. The “thing” you see is the equivalent of a Ferris wheel… So cute!
The minute of history of the day the Badia designates the palatial complex built from 1578. The work lasted 16 years. Its plan is inspired by the Alhambra Palace in Granada (Spain), which we visited (and which is very very pretty). It was intended for celebrations and solemn audiences.
Unfortunately, this palace was destroyed in the 17th century, and we now see only a few ruins of apartments and the famous walls serving as a stage for “Marrakech of laughter”.
When you see its orange tree gardens and water ponds, it is really hard to imagine where they put the platforms and chairs are set for the festival “Marrakech du rire”. In any case, watching a show here must be superb, I really like this place!
There are Saudi tombs nearby as well, but they aren’t visited because equivalent tombs have been visited in Istanbul.
Info access to El Badii palace
About 20dh by cab from the center of Marrakech city
There are official guides at the entrance if you are interested (I don’t know the rates)
With that, we return to our riad. It’s raining tonight, it’s very cold. We reserve a driver for the next day. He comes right on time (10 am) and we are on the plane to Lisbon.
Part 2: Practical Tips
We have already written a long article about cabs in Marrakech here
- Bus Essaouira => Marrakech : 90dh/person
- Riad Dar Asdika(Booking link): 47€/night/double room
- Dinner at the riad: 10€/person entry-flat-dessert
- Jardin Majorelle + YSL museum + Berber museum: 180dh/person
- El Badii Palace: 70dh/person
- Cab: about 20dh/run