The year is 1898. Héloïse, 9 years old, comes from a family belonging to the anti-Dreyfus and anti-Semitic Parisian high bourgeoisie. In a spirit of revolt, she begins a love affair with Maxime, a young Jewish journalist. During a terrible quarrel with her father, the latter suffers a stroke and dies. To get her away from Maxime, her mother Mathilde and her cousin Olympe take Héloïse on a trip to the Orient. After Cairo and the Pyramids, they go up the Nile and cross the desert in a caravan.