A Small Village in the Rhine Valley.
By tradition at harvest time, the villagers gather at a different house each day to taste the new wine. We find them gathered at the cottage of the peasant girl Giselle. Count Albrecht, Duke of Silesia, has fallen in love with Giselle. He disguises himself as a peasant in order to court her.
Wilfrid, a gamekeeper, who also loves Giselle, suspects the true identity of his rival and warns her to be wary of the stranger. The peasants return with the last of the grape harvest and join in a dance with Giselle and the disguised Count. Laughing off her mother’s warning that her passion for dancing might be endangering her life, Giselle is crowned Queen of the Vine.
A hunting party led by the Duke of Courland with his daughter Bathilde, stops at Giselle’s cottage to rest. Wilfrid, learning that Bathilde is detrothed to Count Albrecht, reveals the truth to Giselle. The shock is too great for her and she dies, heartbroken.
The banks of a pool in a forest: Giselle’s grave.
Midnight: The hour when the Wilis, the ghosts of the young women who have died of a broken heart, appear to waylay unwary men and dance them to death. Count Albrecht and Wilfrid come to grieve at Giselle’e grave. The Wilis are commanded by their Queen Myrtha to dance with the two men, Wilfrid cannot ascape their spell and dies, but Count Albrecht is saved from Myrtha the Wilis by Giselle’s abiding love for him. He manages to dance until dawn, when the power of the Wilis fades, and escapes, taking his leave of Giselle forever.