FD couples were headed to Notre Dame for Easter

-Submitted photo Sue Bemrich, of Fort Dodge, lights a candle in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris on a visit to the city.

What was supposed to be a very special trip for two Fort Dodge couples turned bittersweet on Monday when the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris burned.

It was their Easter destination.

“I’ve said a lot of prayers in that church,” Sue Bemrich said Monday evening.

Earlier in the day she watched as the iconic Paris landmark lost its spire to raging flames.

Notre Dame, she explained, is le point zero — that is, point zero.

It is also known as the heart of the French city.

“That’s where Paris starts,” she said. “The tradition is you go to point zero and the trip starts there.”

Sue Bemrich and her husband, Greg, planned to lead Phil and Keely Gunderson to that heart on Wednesday. The Gundersons are marking their 40th wedding anniversary and Keely Gunderson’s 60th birthday.

The Bemrichs, who have been to Paris multiple times — this trip is Sue Bemrich’s seventh and Greg Bemrich’s eighth — planned to take their friends to the plaque that marks le point zero, each step on it, and set out for the sights in the magical French city.

“That’s where the city begins,” she said.

On Easter Sunday, their planned destination was the service in the stunning cathedral.

The fire has changed that plan, but not all of their plans.

“I think we’ll still go there because I’ve got to see it to believe it,” Sue Bemrich said.

On Wednesday morning, Paris time, she will see le point zero again.

Maybe they’ll have to view it from across the Seine, she mused.

“We’ll do all the other awesome things,” she said.

Then added, “It’s just a devastating thing. I still have to go there to start my trip to Paris.”