In the States, I think we take water for granted. You turn on the tap, it's there. You want cold, you get cold. You want hot, you get hot. It might depend on where you live, but I remember rarely having water issues. In our building in Paris, there's always something. We've had one major kitchen leak, one small bathroom leak, new water damage to our kitchen ceiling (paint's peeling off in the corner), and annoying showers where I feel like someone is purposely trying to give me a hard time (burning hot to freezing cold and back again...on and on, with my faucet adjustments making it only temporarily bearable).
Today, the water's supposed to be completely shut off from 8 am to 12 pm for a change of all the faucets in the building. I'm holding off on my shower, but guess what -- at 9 am, John was still able to rinse his toothbrush with tap water from the sink. Being late is normal in France. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't even get around to changing our faucets today.
This isn't the first time they've shut off the water. And there have been a few more times when they've shut off just the hot water. One time, without notifying us. Is this normal apartment building living or is this France?
[Addition (June 4, 2006): Oops, I had misread the poorly designed flyer. Only hot water was off, but cold water was available. I missed the fine print, but didn't miss the huge lettering of "ARRET DE L'EAU."]