Paarl takes its name from the granite domes of Paarl Mountain, which looms above the town—paarl is Dutch for "pearl." The first farmers settled here in 1687, two years after the founding of Stellenbosch. The town has its fair share of historic homes and estates, but it lacks the charm of its distinguished neighbor simply because it's so spread out. Main Street, the town's oak-lined thoroughfare, extends some 11 km (7 miles) along the western bank of the Berg River. You can gain a good sense of the town's history on a drive along this lovely street.
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