Perfectly Timed Photo Captures Full Moon Framed by the Arc de Triomphe

Full Moon Framed in the Arc de Triomphe by Thierry Legault

French astrophotographer Thierry Legault is always on the lookout for something special. While he's worked on extraordinary projects in the past, his latest photo proves that a bit of due diligence can pay off big. Taken just after Easter, the image captures the full moon perfectly centered within Paris' iconic Arc de Triomphe.

Glowing brilliantly in the sky, the full moon is clearly visible. Its yellow-orange glow is unmistakable and the clear sky allows its craters to stand out on the surface. The rows of trees that line the Champs-Élysées draw the eye directly toward the Moon nestled within the famous monument.

Impressively, Legault captured the scene in a single exposure. According to his Twitter, there is no image stacking involved, just good research and photographic skill. Legault tells My Modern Met that he often checks the direction of the moonrise and moonset to see if the celestial body will make an appearance under the arch. In this particular instance, he was out of town spending Easter with his family after having just photographed the Moon setting behind the Eiffel Tower. While he was away, he realized that the Moon would set under the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday evening at 10:10 p.m. He knew that he had to be back in town at that moment. “My train back to Paris let me in the southern suburbs of Paris at 8:15 p.m. and I had just the time to get my car and run to the Triumphal arch,” the astrophotographer shares.

Once he was on site, he needed to make a decision. Either he could stand perfectly centered in the middle of the street, but risk having traffic lights in the middle of the photo, or stand slightly off center. In the end, he opted to shift slightly to the right and avoid the distraction of the lights.

He hopes that his photograph will remind people of the Moon's beauty, whether it's framed by a famous monument or not.

See the moonrise in the center of the Arc de Triomphe and set behind the Eiffel Tower.

Thierry Legault: Website | Twitter | YouTube

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photo by Thierry Legault.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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