Jerry Mulligan (Gene Kelly) is an American G.I. who decides to stay in Paris after the Second World War. Keen to sample some of the city's legendary romantic lifestyle, he becomes an art student and joins a colony of painters living in a Montmartre garret. Penniless and starving, his pursuit of the experience of the great artists is fast becoming a little too realistic when he is "discovered" by wealthy heiress Milo Roberts (Nina Foch). She becomes his patron, although Jerry soon realises that her interest in him doesn't end with his art!