Camille Fauque is a young woman who works as a cleaning lady for a company named All-Kleen. Camille looks like and ordinary girl but she is an artist who became homeless and penniless after her last venture in art forgery ended up badly. Mathilde and Pierre are rich. They are a modern couple of art dealers who know that Camille is a very talented girl. They offer her a very small room in the attic of an old building near the Eiffel Tower, in Paris when she ends up sleeping on their doorstep one night.
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Philibert Marquet de la Durbelliere is an awkward, anxious, young man who stutters all the time. He lives in the same building as Camille. He must stay in his aunt's big, old, desolate apartment until the family lawyers will decide who will inherit the place. He loves history and he sells postcards at the entrance of a museum; his entire family lives in an old castle because they belong to the old nobility of France.
Franck Lestafier is a young chef who loves motorbikes and his grandmother. Philibert decided to rent him a room in his big apartment so they are living together. Franck works a lot, he is tired all the time and he has a temper but he likes Philibert and they are getting along quite well in the old apartment.
One day, Camille decides to buy a radiator for her room but she ends up buying an electric, fake fireplace that she likes better. She invites her awkward neighbor, Philibert, to celebrate her new acquisition and they end up having a good time. Philibert has very good manners and he brings an old picnic trunk filled with exquisite silverware to Camille's room.
Camille is freezing in her room so she catches a cold. She can't go to work because she has a fever. Philibert gets worried about her because he knows the place she lives in and he decides to check up on her. He finds her under a dome of blankets and jackets in the cold room and he decides to take her to his apartment. Camille wakes up in Philibert's apartment and he explains what happened to her and that she must stay there until she gets better. Franck hates the idea of a new roommate. He says it will ruin the fragile equilibrium between him and Philibert so he decides to find another place and move out as soon as possible.
Camille gets better but Philibert likes her very much and he insists that she must stay in his apartment until spring. She manages to stay away from Franck and she starts drawing again. She draws portraits, scenes and beautiful objects in the old apartment.
Franck and Camille decide to talk to each other and be civil so that he can stay in the apartment for a little longer. He tells her that he had to put his grandmother in an old people's home and that she hates it very much. He is miserable and he doesn't know what to do about it. Franck starts cooking for Camille because she is extremely thin. She likes his cooking and one day he takes her along to visit his grandmother. Paulette loves Camille. She wants to go back to her beautiful home and she asks Franck to take her away from that awful place.
Camille decides to take Paulette to Philibert's apartment and take good care of her. She quits her job and opens an art studio in one of the empty rooms. She draws Mamadou, a big African lady from the cleaning company and one of her closest friends and Vincent, a drug addict to whom she offered her old attic room for free and she contacts her old art dealers Mathilde and Pierre. She tells them that she is drawing again and they are very glad because she is a very talented artist and they like to exhibit her work.
Franck falls in love with Camille and they sleep together for a while. He takes her to a pig slaughtering party and she meets his friends. He takes her to his restaurant and she helps decorate the plates for a party. They take Paulette to her old house and Camille stays with her until one day she dies in her garden.
Philibert gets married and he moves in a small apartment with his wife. Camille realizes that she can't allow herself to fall in love with Franck because they are too different so she pushes him away. He decides to move to London. Philibert tells them to move from the old apartment so they all must go different ways.
Camille follows Franck to the train station but he can't go away because he is in love with her so he decides to ask her one more time to give him a chance. Camille decides to let herself live a little even it means being vulnerable and getting hurt so she and Franck go back into the city. She tells Franck that she has some money and she convinces him to open his own restaurant. Franck opens the restaurant and in the end they gather around the table and Franck and Camille decide to have a baby.
Best part of story, including ending:
The story is about friendship, love, sacrifice and good food. I liked it because it introduced me into a world I did not know until I read this book. I like the way the characters interact and learn to accept each other's values. The book tells a story about broken families and lost souls who struggle to find some equilibrium. It tells us that one can still find good people in this world.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene is the one where Camille, Franck and Philibert are practically kidnapping Paulette from the old people's home in the middle of the night. The old woman is so surprised and so glad and the scene is so funny it makes you read it again and again.
Opinion about the main character:
Camille is a lost soul and she has no real family except her mother whom she hates. She decides to gather around her some other lost souls like Vincent the drug addict, Paulette and Franck. I love Camille as an artist and as a woman. She decides to take care of Paulette and she does it because she is not selfish.