Bill Willis, a successful American novelist and World War II veteran, is living in Paris in the 1960s with his family. He is much loved by his free-spirited unpredictable wife Marcella. The couple, popular at the Paris cocktail party circuit, has a six-year-old daughter Channe (short for Charlotte Anne). Marcella yearns to have another child, but a series of miscarriages has made that difficult. However, the family circle expands when a six-year old French boy, Benoit, is brought to their home for adoption. The child's biological mother, a beautiful young single mother, has been unable to care for him and Benoit has been shipped through so many orphanages and foster homes that he initially does not unpack his suitcase. Having feared rejection, the little boy is surprised by the love he receives in his new surroundings. After Benoit becomes acclimated to his new family, he asks that his name be changed to Billy after his adopted father.