If the name Parys sounds close to the name of the French city, Paris then you’re surely right for thinking that as Parys is the Afrikaans translation of the word Paris.
The name of the town was given by a German surveyor named Schilbach who had participated in the siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War and the location next to the Vaal reminded him of Paris on the River Seine.
And just the name Parys is enough to get you interested in what this town situated on the banks of the Vaal River in the Northern Free State has to offer.Well for one a lot of arts and antique, just like the small town of Clarens, Parys is also a town that has acquired a reputation for its galleries too, with many artists, antique dealers and craftsmen having settled in the town and made it their home. And art is not the only common theme that seems to be associated with the small towns of the Free State province.
Activities are also very popular too, and Parys is also not lacking in that department either, with many adventure options of archery, star gazing, fishing, horse riding, abseiling, hot air balloon rides and quad and mountain biking. And since Parys has the meandering Vaal River, you can also enjoy water sports of kayaking and river rafting of nature paddles.
The town also has the first and only pre-teen and teen holiday resort in the Free State that offers activities of stalk the lantern, hiking trails, wall climbing, bird watching and game drives.
And in early November an Annual Dome Adventure festival happens, with the Dragon Boat Race as one of its highlights and it’s the only festival in the world held in a heritage site called Vredefort Dome. A seventh world heritage site currently described as the world’s oldest and largest impact structure which was formed 2020 million years ago, when an asteroid of about 10km in diameter collided with earth at a speed of 30 000km/h.
The riverside town of Parys being so close to Johannesburg only an hour’s drive, a 100km makes for a great day trip out of the pressures of the city to a pleasant rural escape.