The action takes place in Paris around 1830. In the attic live young people - the poet Rudolph, the painter Marcel, the musician Schonar, the philosopher Colin, who hope to become someday great, but for now ... poverty and deprivation, paying off with youth and carefree fun.
The inhabitants of the attic go to have fun in the Latin Quarter. Rudolph stays at home alone. He gets acquainted with a neighbor who came to them by chance by the name of Mimi and they also go to the Latin Quarter. Feelings of sympathy break out between the young people.
The usual merriment prevails in the Latin Quarter. Rudolph introduces friends to Mimi. Marcel meets her ex-girlfriend - a flirtatious and frivolous Musette, who this time appears with a new companion - the old man Alcindor. Soon Musetta "gets off" from Alcindor and escapes with Marcel and his friends.
Marcel and Musette, after living together for a while, will soon part. The reason for this is the eternal scenes, frivolity and soreness of Musette and jealousy of Marcel.
Rudolph and Mimi often quarrel. Rudolph decides to leave the girl - Mimi is seriously ill and love for Rudolph can ruin her. Separation between them is inevitable.
Friends again live in the attic. Everything would seem as before. But Marcel and Rudolph are increasingly recalling their beloved. Young people are still poor and cheerful.
Suddenly, Musette appears, and Mimi, who has grown very weak from the disease. Friends put her to bed and try to help her. Musette sells the earrings and brings for Mimi the clutch, Colin sells his cloak. Mimi is happy - she is next to her beloved Rudolph. Hiding her hands in a warm muff, she falls asleep with the last dream. Friends are shocked. In their seemingly carefree life came a real, great grief.