The small country style town of Parys is situated on the Southern banks of the Vaal River, a mere hours’ drive from Johannesburg. It has acquired a reputation as an arts and antiques hub as many well-known artists, craftsmen and antique dealers have made Parys their home.
The small town is scattered with art and antique stores, bookshops, coffee shops, street cafés and restaurants catering for a variety of cuisines, but traditional South African being the favourite. There is a small exclusive distillery for brandy and liquors, with 52 different flavours to taste, and no less than three beer breweries to visit offering various ales, honey beer, bunchu beer, Weiss beer and many more!
Parys also offers a few historical buildings which include the Anglican Church built in 1915 of blue granite, the beautiful Dutch Reformed Church built in 1899 and the Parys Museum housed in the old Magistrates Office built in 1904 and proclaimed a Provincial Heritage Site in 1986.
Parys has become a very popular town to visit, especially for water sports enthusiast as it stretches for about a kilometre along the banks of the Vaal River, its shores lined with Weeping Willows. It is extremely popular with Anglers and fly-fishermen! The surrounding countryside also offers a few pretty hikes and other outdoor activities such as horse riding, mountain biking, abseiling and many more.
Parys has a variety of accommodation with over 100 Guesthouses, Lodges, B&B’s and various resorts on offer. Backpacker, caravan and camping facilities are also available.
Parys receives approximately 496 mm of rain annually with the majority of its’ rainfall occurring during the summer months.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 15˚C and 297˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 0˚C and 17˚C.
Approximately one hundred and forty years ago towns were few and far between and if a family wanted to go to Church they had to travel as far as Kroonstad from the Vaal and if you were on the Traansvaal side of the Vaal you had to travel as far as Potchefstroom. With a wagon and oxen that would have taken you days to do!
At the time the family Van Coller owned a farm called Klipspruit along the Vaal and were approached by an Attorney and Surveyor with the proposal of laying out a township on their farm. At first, they refused, but after the adjoining farm gave permission and the township of Vredefort was established, the Van Coller family sold a portion of their land to build the Dutch Reformed Church and that was the start of the town which we call Parys, established in 1876.
Herr Schilbach, who had fought in the siege of Paris, known as the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, thought the beautiful setting of the proposed new Free State town on the Vaal reminded him of Paris and the Seine and this is how the town got its name! He was the town Surveyor and had hopes for a similar town to be laid out on both sides of this river in the Free State however, he forgot that the other side of the Vaal was in another Province.
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