Jessica (Cécile de France
) arrives in Paris and gets a waitress job at the Bar des Theatres on the chic Avenue Montaigne, the city’s nexus for art, music, theater and fashion. She encounters all kinds of customers from different social backgrounds. As a waitress, she gets to know the three main characters of the movie: Catherine, a wealthy and popular soap opera actress; Jean-Francois, a well known piano prodigy; and Jacques, an artwork collector.
Catherine’s (Valérie Lemercier) a star on TV—hugely popular and adored by everyone—but all she dreams about is serious movies and intellectual recognition. By night, she records her 100th episode and by day, rehearses a play at the Comédie des Champs-Élysées theatre. She’s overworked but the show opens on the 17th, and you’ve got to be up to playing in a Feydeau farce, even if you’d prefer to be doing Sartre.
Jean-François (Albert Dupontel) is a gifted pianist—adored and overbooked—and on the 17th will be playing Beethoven next door, in one of the finest concert halls in the world, with the most talented musicians and the most sophisticated of audiences. But all he dreams about is solitude, freedom, and an uncultivated and naïve audience.
Jacques (Claude Brasseur) has spent his life seeking out and discovering artists, raiding his piggy bank to collect rare works of art. On the 17th, Jacques will sell the lot. In one single evening, his life’s work will be split up and scattered around the world.
This is where they all come—actress, pianist, waitress, concierge, collector, son of one, wife of another—to nurse their neuroses over a coffee or a steak tartare.
Confronted by this world she once believed was magical, Jessica loses her illusions but she does find the key to a new life.