The unique area in which the town of Parys is situated, had its origin roughly around 2000 million years ago when a giant meteorite struck the earth just south east of Vredefort in the Free State Province. The impact structure that was subsequently formed has come to be known as the Vredefort Dome, the oldest and largest meteorite impact site on earth, measuring about 200km in diameter.
In the early 1870’s, towns in the northern Free State were set very far apart and members of the different churches had far to travel to participate in their religious services. It was then decided by the Ring of the Dutch Reformed Church to implant the idea of a congregation north of the Renoster River into the minds of residents of the farm Klipspruit, on the Vaal River, which was owned by four Van Coller brothers. Three gentlemen, Messrs. De Villiers, Luyt and Fleck were sent to the owners of Klipspruit to induce them to lay the farm out as a township, but the Van Coller brothers were very reluctant to listen to the arguments put forward by the three men. Not giving up hope of laying out a township, the three gentlemen went to the adjoining farm, Vischgat (the present Vredefort). The owners of Vischgat were more amenable to argument and inducement, and it was not long before the township Vredefort was born. The owners of Klipspruit soon awoke to the fact that a golden opportunity had slipped through their fingers and set out in haste to retrieve matters. History has not recorded the steps they took, but it seems probable that they secured the sympathy of the Dutch Reformed Church, for, later on in 1876 when the town was laid out, a goodly portion of ground was set aside and donated to the church. On the 14th of June 1876 the first sale of seven erven was held by a Mr. Wouter de Villiers, and the upset price of the erven was 25 pounds each.
Parys (pronounced /ˈpɑːreɪs/) is an infinitely abundant, rather picturesque country town. First of all, it is situated on the southern banks of the Vaal River in the Northern Free State of South Africa. A German surveyor named the town, consequently, a street was named after Mr. Schilbach. He participated in the Siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War. As a result of its location next to the Vaal River, the town reminded him of Paris on the River Seine. Probably because of the weeping willow trees growing on the river banks. Parys is also the Afrikaans translation of Paris. Due to its location next to the river, it is a very popular tourist town. Probably because of its close proximity to the metropolis of Johannesburg which is less than an hour’s drive away. The Vaal River stretches for about 2-3 kilometres in either direction along the borders of the town.