By Maryam Montague
November 17, 2014
David Cumming/Eye Ubiquitous/Corbis

Until Morocco, I confess that my notions of an “oasis” were limited to three things: sandy war movies with parched dreams of mirages, Saint-Exupéry’s musings in The Little Prince, and a not-too-bad band in Britain. Not very evolved, I know.  But then I moved to Marrakesh and everything changed, because the city is a real oasis (okay, technically, a semi-arid climate) in which trees and plants grow and thrive.  Accordingly, the city is home to a number of well-known gardens. So if you haven't stopped to smell the flowers in some time, you may want to ease your way into this bit of Marrakesh’s landscape. From formal gardens—with trees and plants all in a row—to expansive parks neighboring palaces, to Yves Saint Laurent's blue-splashed garden, it’s all here in Marrakesh.  There are countless trees whose shade you may fall asleep in, or fall in love under. Here are some top picks:

Arsat Moulay Abdeslam Cyber Park

This is a favorite park in Marrakesh, and also not far from the Koutoubia mosque.  This 20-acre park is well worth a visit to escape the hubbub of the city.  Its claim to fame is its free WiFi and its (sometimes) working computers.  You’ll also find beautiful citrus and olive trees, as well as many flowering plants and succulents.   

Jardin Majorelle (Majorelle Garden)

Unquestionably Marrakesh’s most fashionable (and glamorous) garden, this jewel of a botanical garden was created by French painter Jacques Majorelle and later restored by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.  There is a fantastic variety of plants and trees from all over the world, punctuated by pergolas and fountains.  Dreamy!  Much of the garden's structures are painted Majorelle blue, a famous electric blue with violet undertones.  This is a photographer’s paradise.

Jardin el Harti

This beautiful garden dates back over 80 years and features an interesting combination of plants and trees.  Located near old watchtowers, the garden is a pleasant place to while away a quiet half hour or so—write in your journal, or enjoy an ice cream while you’re at it.

The Agdal Garden

The 700 acres that makes up the Agdal Gardens are fit for their royal owners.  Adjacent to the Royal Palace, these gardens include numerous types of fruit trees and olive tree allées.  The name “Adgal” means “walled meadow"— very picturesque.  It’s only open to the public two days a week, so plan accordingly.

Lalla Hasna Park

After a hectic day exploring the souks, it’s nice to take a breather in this small park right by the famous Koutoubia mosque.  It’s a small-ish, formal space with glossy green grass and numerous orange and lemon trees.  Plenty of benches dot the park, making it easy to spend a tranquil few minutes gazing at the mosque and pondering the mysteries of the Red City. 

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