Philippe Abrams is the director of the Salon-de-Provence post office. He's married to Julie, whose depressed state makes life impossible. To make her happy, Philippe plots to get transferred to the Côte d’Azur. But it backfires, and he is transferred to Bergues, a small town in northern France, instead.
For the Abrams, southerners through and through, the North is a ghastly, cold place inhabited by rustic folk, babbling on in an incomprehensible language, the language of the Sticks. Philippe will go alone. To his great surprise, he discovers a charming place, a warm team, and welcoming people. And he makes a friend: Antoine, the postman and village bell-ringer, with a possessive mother and a messy love life. When Philippe returns to Salon, Julie refuses to believe that he is happy up North. She even thinks that he's lying to smooth things over with her. To keep her satisfied and make life easier, Philippe allows her to believe that he is in fact living a nightmare in Bergues.
From then on, his life settles into a comfortable lie: he spends fifteen days having a ball with Antoine and his pals, and every other weekend, he is pampered by his wife who little by little becomes less depressed. All is going well, until the day that Julie decides to join Philippe in Bergues to help him survive the trials and tribulations she believes he's going through.
Philippe is obliged to admit to Antoine and his team that he has described them as barbarians to his wife. He begs them to behave as such to cover up his lie and to scare Julie into leaving quickly. Philippe's employees unwillingly lend themselves to the masquerade and put Julie through the worst trip of her life.
But Julie discovers what's going on...