Nice came from behind to defeat Bordeaux 2-1 at home on Sunday and keep the pressure on Ligue 1 title rivals Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain.
Leaders Monaco and second-placed PSG, the reigning champions, were not in league action this weekend as they contested the Coupe de la Ligue final, won 4-1 by Unai Emery's capital city club on neutral territory in Lyon.
That fixture afforded Nice, this season's surprise early frontrunners, who have since slipped to third, an opportunity to close the gap on the top two, but Lucien Favre's team got off to a bad start.
Bordeaux took the lead in the ninth minute, when Gaetan Laborde beat centre-backs Dante and Maxime Le Marchand with ease before shooting through the legs of goalkeeper Yoan Cardinale.
Nice pulled level six minutes later as a penalty was somewhat harshly awarded against Bordeaux captain Jeremy Toulalan for a challenge on Arnaud Souquet in the area, Mario Balotelli firing home emphatically from the spot.
And the hosts took the lead in style in the 27th minute, Balotelli turning provider by chipping a clever pass to Valentin Eysseric, who turned and dispatched a brilliant long-range shot past Cedric Carrasso.
That strike proved to be a fitting winner, the result seeing Nice get to within one point of PSG and four of Monaco.