After the horror of the Civil War, "ignorant" Christopher Newman (Matthew Modine) made his fortune. He travels to France is search of cultural treasures. He won't get past the Paris nightlife. He falls in love with Claire de Cintré (Aisling O'Sullivan). She was married off and traumatized by her abusive late husband for the family's sake. Her elder brother supports their ruthless mother, but Valentin (Andrew Scott) is besotted with the artist and strikes up a partnership with Christopher.