In Belle Epoque Paris, Léa de Lonval ends a lucrative and enjoyable courtesan career by indulging in a liaison with Fred Peloux, nicknamed Chéri, the young son of a former colleague.
Six years pass in which Chéri learns much from the beautiful Léa. Madame Peloux decides that it is high time to think about her son's future, and her own. Chéri must absolutely be married off to Edmée, the only daughter of rich Marie-Laure.
As the fateful moment approaches, Léa and Chéri try to resolve themselves to this imminent separation, all the while realizing that they are far more attached to each other than they have wanted to admit.