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Despite the fact that the name is spelled and pronounced differently, I found that when we told people we were headed to Parys for the day, they invariably asked “in Europe?”

No. Not in Europe.

The small town of Parys is located in the northern part of the Free State along the Vaal River. It is in the Vredefort Dome area, the
world’s largest meteorite impact structure and South Africa’s 7th World Heritage Site.  It’s ideally suited for a day trip or weekend getaway. All of which I did not know prior to our 120km, or about an hour’s drive, from Johannesburg.

Our first stop was the information centre where we grabbed a map of the area and received a friendly welcome and chat. This involved a brief history of the area, a few suggestions for shopping and lunch, and possible activities in the area for longer visits later. Then we were sent on our way.

Bree Street, the main street in town, is where a lot of the action takes place. It’s lined with art galleries, antique stores, arts and crafts stores and a variety of food choices at the restaurants, including “Taste” where we had delicious chocolate mud dessert and chocolate cake after lunch at the golf course.

We came home with full bellies and shopping bags. We also noted that there seemed to be hearts and heart-shaped objects around. Many of the store names had the word ‘heart’ in them (which was alright because they made for very creative gifts.) It may not be the city of love but perhaps the town of hearts?

Other activities in Parys include quad biking, river rafting, bird watching and tours of the Vredefort Dome.

Parys Info & Tourism

Cnr Buiten and Water Street
Tel: 056-811-4000

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