Lorient win Brittany derby while Ajaccio stay bottom
Lorient's defender Gregory Bourillon (L) celebrates with his teammate Alain Traore after a French L1 football match against Guingamp on January 18, 2014 at the Moustoir stadium in Lorient, western France - by Jean-Sebastien Evrard
Yann Jouffre and Kevin Monnet-Paquet struck for Lorient in the eighth and 12th minutes respectively to put Christian Gourcuff's side in control and they held on to move into the top half of the table.
Christian Bruls scored after just five minutes in Nice to help keep Ajaccio rooted to the bottom of the table.
Dario Cvitanich wrapped up the victory with a goal in injury time as Ajaccio dropped to 12 points from safety.
It was a similarly depressing tale for Sochaux, who lost 2-0 at home to 2012 champions Montpellier, to remain deeply rooted in relegation trouble.
They are just two points above Ajaccio and 10 points from safety.
Anthony Mounier opened the scoring for Montpellier after 19 minutes before Nathan Sinkala was sent-off for the home side 11 minute before the break.
Siaka Tiene guaranteed a crucial away victory for Montpellier with a goal 16 minutes from time as the south coast side eased four points clear of the relegation zone.
Elsewhere, Bastia defeated Bordeaux 1-0 while Rennes and Evian finished 0-0.
Adama Ba was the star for Bastia as his goal just before half-time was enough to put the skids on Bordeaux's recent good form.
Rennes and Evian finished scoreless in Brittany in a match that edged both sides a point further ahead of Valenciennes in the final drop zone position.
Valenciennes missed the chance to close the gap on Evian, four points above them, as adverse weather conditions forced their clash at Marseille to be postponed.
On Friday, Saint-Etienne moved to within three points of the Champions League places by defeating third-placed Lille 2-0, Brandao and Franck Tabanou netting for Les Verts while Florent Balmont was sent off for Lille.
Leaders Paris Saint-Germain and second-placed Monaco are both in action on Sunday, taking on Nantes and Toulouse respectively