Lille, Marseille and Reims win
Lille wrenched third place in Ligue 1 back from Saint-Etienne on Saturday night thanks to a 2-0 home win over Sochaux.
Saint-Etienne had taken occupancy of France's third Champions League place after a Friday night goalless draw at Toulouse.
But Lille powered three points clear of their rivals for the European place thanks to an efficient win over opponents who stand second bottom in the French top flight.
Divock Origi scored the fourth-minute opener, and Ryan Mendes netted the second deep into second-half stoppage time.
Dimitri Payet hit a first-half brace as fifth-placed Marseille claimed a comfortable 3-0 win against Bastia.
The former Lille winger needed little more than 10 minutes to open his account before adding his seventh goal of the season with just 25 minutes played.
Andre-Pierre Gignac added a third in the second half to wrap up all three points.
Struggling Ajaccio claimed their first league win since September with a 3-1 victory over Rennes.
The bottom-of-the-table side remain nine points from safety but strikes from Ricardo Faty and Johan Cavalli, plus a goal of the season contender from Benjamin Andre - a remarkable half-volley from a tight angle - increased their hopes of an unlikely escape from the drop.
Abdoulaye Doucoure responded for the visitors who were searching for back-to-back wins for the first time this season after last week's impressive 2-0 win over Lyon.
Reims came from behind to win 2-1 on a quagmire of a pitch at Guingamp.
Rachid Alioui gave Guingamp a deserved lead just after the hour mark but two goals in three minutes from Odair Fortes and Floyd Ayite turned the game around.
Waris Majeed struck a winner two minutes from time as Valenciennes earned a morale-boosting 2-1 win over Nice.
Tongo Doumbia had put Valenciennes ahead after 26 minutes but it seemed they would have to settle for a point after Neal Maupay levelled in the 75th minute.
However, Majeed's late goal gave the hosts only their fourth win of the season, putting them within four points of safety.
Montpellier extended their unbeaten run in Ligue 1 to eight games after they drew 1-1 at home to Evian despite being reduced to 10 men.
Evian, playing in their 100th game in the French top flight, were unable to bring to an end their own eight-game winless run, as Kevin Berigaud's opener was cancelled out by Remy Cabella just before the break, with the scoreline remaining deadlocked even after Siaka Tiene saw red in the 68th minute.