Stolen painting by French impressionist Edgar Degas found on bus in France

"Les Choristes" was stolen from the Cantini Museum in Marseille in 2009.

— -- A painting by French impressionist Edgar Degas has been located for the first time since it was stolen from a Marseille museum in 2009.

The 1877 piece "Les Choristes" -- which translates to "The Chorus Singer" -- was found inside a suitcase on a bus in Marne-la-Vallee, a French town located about 15 miles east of Paris, The Associated Press reported.

The French Culture Ministry announced Friday that customs agents were surprised to find the work, which bears the signature "Degas" after no one claimed the suitcase last week, according to the AP.

The "disappearance represented a heavy loss for the French impressionist heritage," said French Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen after it was recovered.

The colorful piece depicts singers in a scene of the opera "Don Juan." It was on loan from Paris' Musee d'Orsay and caused a local media frenzy when it was stolen overnight from the Cantini Museum in Marseille in December 2009.

The piece is reportedly worth about $1 million.