Paarl is the third oldest town and derives its name from the large granite rock that lies on the outskirts of the town. In 1657 the Dutch India Company sent Abraham Gabemma, treasurer at the time, inland to forge new trading relationships. After a rainstorm, the granite glistened in the sun and Gabemma referred to the area as Diamond and Pearl Mountain.
In 1688 the French Huguenots decided to settle in the area. The soil and weather conditions of the valley was perfect for the farming of fruit and vegetables.
On the slopes they planted vineyards. Soon the name was shortened to Paarl Rock and eventually the area just became known as Paarl.