Lyon & Bordeaux both held at home
Champions Lyon drew 1-1 with St Etienne while Bordeaux missed the opportunity go top when they were held to a battling 2-2 draw by Lille.
Lyon's games with St Etienne are the closest thing to a derby in French football with the teams only 50 kilometres apart and the latest encounter burst into life in four second half minutes.
St Etienne, the dominant power of French football in the 1960s and 1970s, had not beaten their neighbours and arch-rivals in 15 years but opened the scoring on 50 minutes when Belgium striker Kevin Mirallas delicately lobbed keeper Hugo Lloris.
Three minutes later, Lyon's deadball specialist Juninho levelled. The Brazilian midfielder fired from the left edge of the box, wrong-footing St Etienne goalkeeper Jeremie Janot.
The hosts were reduced to ten men a minute later when Frederic Piquionne was handed a second yellow card for a late tackle on Mouhamadou Dabo.
"A draw is a just result," Lyon's coach Claude Puel told French television. "We missed a few opportunities in the first half but we survived the second half on courage because we were tried had to play for the second time running with ten men."
Bordeaux dominated the first half of their game and opened the scoring through David Bellion's close-range effort in the 17th minute.
Seventh-placed Lille came back into the game after the break.
They levelled three minutes after the restart when Ludovic Obraniak fired a shot into the far corner and went up 2-1 through Adil Rami who slipped the ball under keeper Ulrich Rame.
Bordeaux secured a point on 65 minutes thanks to a powerful header by France playmaker Yoann Gourcuff.
Olympique Marseille's hopes of challenging for the title dimmed when they were defeated 1-0 at Sochaux.
The only goal was scored midway through the first half by Turkish striker Mevlut Erding who rounded France international goalkeeper Steve Mandanda and pushed the ball into an empty net.
Marseille are five points off the lead in fourth with 38 points, one behind Paris St Germain who beat Caen 2-0 on Saturday.