Stephane Bahoken scored a pair of first half goals to lead Nice to a 2-0 win over defending champions Montpellier at the Stade Municipal du Ray.
Bahoken got Nice off to a flying start 12 minutes into the match when he ripped a right-footed strike home following a cross from Eric Bautheac.
12 minutes later Bahoken made it 2-0 for the hosts and Montpellier pressed in the second half as Younes Belhanda had the best chance for the defending champions when he hit the post, but Montpellier could not get back into the match.
Nice pulls even on points with St. Etienne in fourth place, but stays one spot back on goal difference. Montpellier, meanwhile, remains in seventh place on 44 points.
Elsewhere in Ligue 1 on Sunday, Lyon and Marseille met in a marquee top-of- the-table clash at the Stade de Gerland, but the clubs played to a scoreless draw.
Lyon controlled the run of play with 61 percent of possession and fired seven shots in the direction of the Marseille net, but neither side could find a goal.
In Sunday's final fixture, Bordeaux moved up to ninth place after securing a 1-0 win over Bastia at the Stade Chaban-Delmas.
Cheick Diabate netted the only goal of the contest in the 57th minute after a cross from Fahid Ben Khalfallah fell to his feet and he ripped it past Bastia goalkeeper Mickael Landreau.
Bastia remains in 14th place on 30 points from 28 matches, three points from the bottom three.