Late 17th Century: Anne de Grandcamp and Lucie de Fontenelle, two little girls from Normandy, arrive at the Saint-Cyr school founded by Madame de Maintenon for educating the daughters of impoverished nobles ruined in wars and making them into free women.
Madame de Maintenon is the secret wife of Louis XIV, and empowered by his support, she offers "her" two hundred fifty girls a playful and avant-garde education. Anne and Lucie, two inseparable friends, allow themselves to be carried away by the promise of a bright future. But Maintenon has arrived at the pinnacle of power through scheming and debasing herself and she now fears the fires of hell. She is counting on her model school to atone for her past sins.