Nelly (Béart) is married to Jerôme (Berling), a man who has stopped working or searching for work. Nelly has a part-time job at a printing shop but she has fallen six months behind on the rent for the apartment in which she lives with her husband.Talking with Jacquelline at a coffee shop, she meets Pierre Arnaud, a wealthy, retired businessman. After determining Nelly is encumbered with debt, Arnaud spontaneously decides to give Nelly 30,000 francs as a gift. Nelly reluctantly accepts, pays off her overdue rent and moves out of the apartment.Nelly agrees to type up Arnaud's memoirs, but Arnaud insists this will not be to repay the money he already gave her, he will pay her for this work. Nelly thus learns more about Arnaud's life: he was a judge in a French colony, and later a businessman. Nelly has an affair with Arnaud's editor. Arnaud feels a little jealous.