PARASOL an Integrated Programming Environment for Parallel Sparse Matrix Solvers. PARASOL is an ESPRIT IV Long Term Research Project whose main goal is to build and test a portable library for solving large sparse systems of equations on distributed memory systems. There are twelve partners in five countries, five of whom are code developers and five end users. The software is written in Fortran 90 and uses MPI for message passing. There are routines for both direct and iterative solution of symmetric and unsymmetric systems. The final library will be in the public domain. We will discuss the PARASOL Project with particular emphasis on the algorithms and software for direct solution that are being developed by RAL and CERFACS in collaboration with ENSEEIHT-IRIT in Toulouse. The underlying algorithm is a multifrontal one with a switch to ScaLAPACK processing towards the end of the factorization (and solution). We will discuss the algorithms, the interface, and their current status and illustrate the performance of the direct solver on a range of problems from the PARASOL end users.