Gràcia is different. Once you cross Avinguda Diagonal at the top of Passeig de Gràcia, the whole atmosphere changes. The heady mix of the crowds, commotion and sometimes chaos of downtown Barcelona gives way to peaceful plazas and a village feel where lifelong residents mix with a younger bohemian crowd. You won’t see many tourists on Gràcia’s narrow streets but here at El Palauet we think it’s definitely worth a visit. But before we tell you all our favourite places to go here’s a little history of this barri. Before the expansion of Barcelona in the 19th Century, Gràcia was an independent village originally established in 1626 by an order of nuns. After the demolition of the city walls and the building of Passeig de Gràcia the neighbourhood of Gràcia was officially annexed to the city of Barcelona in 1897, though it still maintained its own identity. Gràcia also lays claim (alongside Raval) to being one of the birthplaces of the Rumba Catalana due to the influence of the Catalan gypsy community who made their home in the area. Today Gràcia is a mix of the traditional and the bohemian. Long standing shops and bars sit next to the independent boutiques and organic markets which have sprung up round the neighbourhood in the past 10 years. If you want a taste of real Barcelona life, away from the crowds, Gràcia is a pretty good place to start.