What there is of a plot in this drama serves mainly as a vehicle for the exploration of character. In the story, Michel (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu) is a recent widower. As the story opens, he and his friend Andre (Philippe Nahon) are sharing a drink on Christmas Eve. He takes a yellow scarf from a woman he knows (Laura Morante) and teasingly refuses to return it. Throughout the remainder of the film, the scarf reappears, as does the woman, until they wind up in bed together at the end of the film. Before that happens, Michel wanders around Paris, viewing the festivities with a jaundiced eye which serves to heighten the unattractiveness of those he observes. Later he has dinner with a group at Andre's house, and his poor opinion of human nature is amply supported by the events that occur then.