Jean Harvey and his wife Gabrielle are renowned within Paris' haute bourgeoisie for the salons they host each Thursday evening. Jean and Gabrielle live a comfortable yet regimented life in a well-appointed Paris mansion, assisted by a retinue of devoted servants. Yet their marriage is more of a contract than a relationship. Jean confides to the audience that he loves Gabrielle "as a collector loves his most prized object." On their 10th anniversary, Jean comes home to find a note from Gabrielle in which she writes that within the hour she will have left to meet her lover. Jean spends several minutes digesting the meaning of the note. Gabrielle returns shortly, though, and Jean and Gabrielle reflect on their marriage for the remainder of the film.