On the banks of Canal SaintMartin in Paris, 1938. As the residents of the familyrun Htel du Nord celebrate a firstcommunion lunch, a young couple named Rene and Pierre arrive, planning a double suicide. Pierre wounds Rene. Unable to kill himself, he escapes into the night and gives himself up. Local pimp Edmond finds and keeps Pierre's gun. To Edmond's delight, the benevolent hotel managers the Lecouvreurs take Rene in as a maid although his partner, the prostitute Raymonde, is not pleased. Two crooks come looking for Edmond, who betrayed them when he was their accomplice. Raymonde covers up for him. Rene and Edmond elope to Marseilles en route to PortSad, but Rene runs back to the hotel. Raymonde is now with Prosper. When the crooks return, she betrays Edmond. During the celebrations on Bastille Day, Edmond reappears. He hands Pierre's gun to his former associate, who shoots him. Pierre comes out of jail. He and Rene leave the Htel du Nord together.