Post office manager Philippe Abrams lives in the quaint northern town of Salon-de-Provence with his perpetually depressed wife Julie. His bosses transfer him to Bergues in the frozen north. Leaving behind Julie and expecting the worst, Philippe is surprised to find that the people of Bergues are delightful and friendly, especially postman, who becomes a good friend. Returning home, Philippe regales Julie with stories of the warmth of people in the north but she refuses to believe him, convinced it is a ploy to stop her slip-sliding even further into her black mood. So Philippe tries some reverse psychology, saying that Bergues is, in fact, hell on earth.