On the banks of Canal Saint-Martin in Paris, 1938. As the residents of the family-run HÃ´tel du Nord celebrate a first-communion lunch, a young couple named RenÃ©e and Pierre arrive, planning a double suicide. Pierre wounds RenÃ©e. 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 RenÃ©e 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. RenÃ©e and Edmond elope to Marseilles en route to Port-SaÃ¯d, but RenÃ©e 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 RenÃ©e leave the HÃ´tel du Nord together.