After sleeping in and enjoying a lovely breakfast at Riad Assala, we wondered into the souks and went to see the new outdoor museum, Le Jardin Secret, in the heart of the medina that opened its doors to the public that same day.
The origins of Le Jardin Secret date back to the second half of the sixteenth century when the Saadian Sultan Moulay ‘Abd-Allah’ commenced upon the urbanisation of what is now the Mouassine district. Since being in existence and occupied from the sixteenth century onwards to the death of its last owner in 1934, the property ceased to be maintained properly and was in a state of decline and disrepair and the idea of restoring it to its prime and historical glory took root in 2008 and Le Jardin Secret came into being eight years later.
Today the green spaces of Le Jardin Secret are divided into an exotic garden and an Islamic garden. The exotic garden has been largely reconfigured and is a more romantic interpretation of a Moroccan garden, filled with plants coming from all over the world, full of the sorts of flowers and colour that would not be found in the more traditional garden.
The Islamic Garden has been restored following the likely eighteenth-century layout. Lush olive trees have been brought from the south and there are marble basin water features from a spring everywhere, closely linked to the rectangular riad structures. In the middle of the garden, there are four flowerbeds by the intersection of two raised walkways, there is a scent of jasmine in the air and butterflies are flying around. This place is an oasis in the middle of Medina, all you hear is birds singing.
I wish I knew what this green, fluffy plant is called – I was so mesmerised by it, I didn’t even realise to ask anyone. Maybe you know?
There are two cafes at Le Jardin Secret, Cafe Sahrij and Cafe Menzeh. You can have Moroccan Mint Tea, sandwiches, pizza or salads, as well as fruit and vegetable smoothies and homemade cakes.
LE JARDIN SECRET
Rue Mouassine 121, Marrakech Medina | +212 524390040 | website