Humiliated by his wife, who is cheating on him under his nose, Gérard (Gérard Depardieu
) decides to leave his job as chief mechanic in the garage owned by his wife and his mother-in-law when an opportunity arises in a village where nobody knows him.
He buys a small garage located in the middle of the main square, and while he waits for the current owner to get back from a car rally so he can set up shop, Gérard makes himself comfortable at a nearby inn. There, he meets Barbara (Catherine Deneuve), the alcoholic ex-mistress of a married man who can barely serve a simple meal to clients.
She doesn’t have a kind word for anyone, but Gérard nonetheless takes a liking to this sour woman. He begins to help out at the inn when Barbara disappears on drinking and/or gambling binges. However, other, more serious troubles, are in store for Gérard.