France's Culture Ministry announced on Friday that it had recovered a painting by the impressionist master Edgar Degas that was stolen more than eight years ago.
Francoise Nyssen said customs officials found the pastel - thought to be worth around 800,000 euros ($893,000) - in the luggage compartment of a bus stopped in a motorway lay by to the east of Paris.
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The minister said she was delighted about the "rediscovery of a precious work belonging to the national collections, whose disappearance represented a heavy loss for the French impressionist heritage".
"They discovered a work of art in a suitcase that carried the signature "Degas" which none of the passengers admitted to having put there".
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Degas' 1877 painting Les Choristes, or The Chorus Singers, is done in pastels and depicts a line of men singing in the opera Don Juan. According to the BBC, the pastel painting, which was found during a random search, is said to be worth 800,000 euros, or almost $984,000.
The painting was stolen from a museum in Marseille in 2009 while on loan from the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.
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The artist, born in 1834 as Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas and later known as Edgar Degas, died in 1917.