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An inspiring trip to Marrakech which led to the creation of We Are Nomads.

When I visited Marrakech it was part inspiration trip, part relaxation trip. I found both in the souks and at the absolutely stunning Riad de Tarabel. I have visited Marrakech before but stayed out of the city in a walled-off hotel complex. To really appreciate the city you have to stay in a Riad. My Riad was on a very well know street in the Medina but I still got lost every time I left. I could leave the Riad twice a day for a month and I’m sure I would still miss my turning on the way back. But that is part of the joy of Marrakech.

It was on this trip that I became inspired to set up my online store. I’m sure most design lovers are aware of Moroccan style, but I would really like to tell the wider story of African design and craftsmanship. Travelling is my number one passion and Marrakech has everything I love, a rich history of architecture and design combined with stunning natural dusty beauty.

One of the things I love about Marrakech is the hidden gardens and courtyards contained within riad walls. Below is a short guide to my favourite gardens in Marrakech.

A love affair with Marrakech

The images above and below are from the famous Jardin Majorelle which was created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle. The garden is an oasis of exotic plants and tranquillity. There are beautifully designed pools and ponds full of Coy Carp.

Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé

In 1980 the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé purchased the gardens. They began a process of restoration and introduced many new species of plants. The studio belonging to Jaques Majorelle has been turned into a museum focused on Berber culture. When Yves Saint Laurent passed away in 2008 this column was placed in the garden as a tribute.

Marjorelle Garden

Another relatively new addition to Marrakech is the beautifully and painstakingly restored Le Jardin Secret in the Medina. The jewel of a complex is over 400 years old and was once the home of the Saadian Dynasty. The gardens are split into two spaces exotic and Islamic designed by the British landscaper Tom Stuart Smith, the architect for the project is Karim El Achak.

The intricate carving below was reproduced for the restoration by local craftspeople.

I flew direct from London to Marrakech with Easyjet and booked Riad de Tarabel through Mr & Mrs Smith.

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