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Most of the fun exploring Marrakech is derived from the hub-bub that is the souk and medina – a boisterous bliss of street vendors, hawkers and traders, all keen to invite you in to sample their wares in return for some of your (likely) hard-earned cash. Whilst enjoyable at first, after several visits navigating the souk’s nooks, it can sometimes take its toll on you, and you just want to escape to somewhere a tad more tranquil and calmer. With this in mind, we discovered Le Jardin Secret on our most recent trip to Marrakech.
Literally an ornate ‘oasis’ of calm, with its beautifully manicured palm-trees and wonderful water-features, the Jardin actually isn’t that much of a secret and can be found easily on a side-street (Rue Mouassine) around a 5 to 10 minute walk from Jemaa el-Fnaa.
After 8 years of painstaking restoration, the Jardin Secret and resurrected palace reopened to the public in 2016. Although development of the Moussaine district started in the sixteenth century, the palace that forms the basis of the Le Jardin Secret was built in the nineteenth century and passed through several owners until it became empty and fell into a severe state of disrepair in the 1930s, before coming back to live with the latest restoration.
After paying your 60 Dirhams entrance fee, you’re welcomed into the gloriously green gardens, which are divided into a traditional Islamic garden and an area devoted to more exotic species – the latter has plant species from all over the globe – you also notice that the flora and fauna has a cooling effect as you enter, almost protecting you from the surrounding heat and humidity.
Symmetry fans will also love the garden, with the straight pathways, reflections in the ponds and magnificent mosaic tiled walkways – alas, for this beauty, you also have to endure Instagram wannabies and insufferable selfie takers, staking their claim to the picturesque benches, trying to find that perfect photo (if they haven’t got it after the fiftieth attempt, they probably never will – but hey, c’est la vie…)
Once you’ve explored the grandiose gardens, explore the lower levels of the former palace and watch the short film about the origins of the palace. Then head up the narrow dark stairs to the café, with a glorious outdoor seating area (complete with parasols) directly overlooking the garden. After a hot day exploring Marrakech’s medina, we can think of no better way to escape the hustle and hubris of the surrounding area than with a cup of mint tea surveying the Secret Jardin here. Served in a traditional way with the ‘silver’ teapot, tray and glasses, this is a serene way to spend an afternoon.
The irony of writing a blog about Le Jardin Secret and promoting it to the masses isn’t lost on us but this is this was one of the highlights of our entire Morocco trip so do take time to discover this garden gem on your next Marrakech adventure.
Le Jardin Secret opening hours
Address: 121 Rue Mouassine, Marrakesh 40030, Morocco
Opening hours: everyday 9:30am–6:30pm
Other Morocco posts
- Things to do in Marrakech
- A guide to exploring the Marrakech souks in Morocco
- Tastes of Morocco – a Marrakech street food tour
- A day trip to Aït Benhaddou from Marrakech, Morroco
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Riad El Youssoufi
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Riad Dar Anika
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