The 'Olympico' between Marseille and Lyon was supposed to capture all the headlines this weekend, until high winds forced officials to call off the eagerly anticipated showdown at a Stade Vélodrome which remains a building site on one side.
A day earlier, the game between Sochaux and Evian was postponed following a sudden blizzard, despite the fact that, a few hours earlier just across the German border, Freiburg's home meeting with Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga went ahead as planned under the snow.
Municipally-owned venues in France are often not as well equipped to deal with adverse weather conditions as modern stadia elsewhere, but big improvements are being made ahead of Euro 2016, which France will host. Opened in the summer, Lille's Grand Stade was one of the first of the new generation of grounds to open. The 50,000-capacity venue is magnificent, and is a huge improvement on the club's old home, an 18,000-capacity athletics stadium just up the road.
Saturday at Lille was a glimpse of the future. LOSC's northern derby against Valenciennes was the first professional game in France to be played indoors, with the Grand Stade's retractable roof completely closed, even if there were no gale-force winds or snow to be seen. That brought scepticism from some, with Valenciennes president Jean-Raymond Legrand asking: "Why can't the conditions be the same everywhere?" However, Lille goalkeeper Mickaël Landreau was much more positive. "This is a fabulous opportunity," he said. "It is the stadium of the future, which will allow us to play in absolutely any weather conditions."
Over 45,000 watched the derby under the roof, as Rudi Garcia's side bounced back from a 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League to win 2-1. An early own-goal and a Dimitri Payet strike before half time proved enough for Lille against a Valenciennes side that played more than an hour with ten men. However, a second-half counter from former Liverpool and Sunderland striker Anthony Le Tallec left Lille hanging on towards the end.
While Lille's long-term future looks bright thanks to their wonderful new home, their more immediate prospects are less certain. Perhaps Garcia's side peaked too soon with their Ligue 1 and French Cup double triumph of 2011. Since then, Adil Rami, Ludovic Obraniak, Yohan Cabaye, Eden Hazard, Moussa Sow and Gervinho have all left. With France right-back Mathieu Debuchy suspended and captain Rio Mavuba injured, it was hard to watch Lille toil against Bayern and wonder anything other than what could have been had all of these players been available.
Lille are staring at an early exit from the Champions League, and a run of just three wins in their first 10Ligue 1 games has left them languishing in 10th place in the table, raising doubts as to their prospects of returning to Europe's top table next season. Failure to do so would see them forced to sell more players, including Debuchy and possibly Lucas Digne, the talented 19-year-old left-back.
"We had a team with enormous amounts of quality, that's true. There is still plenty of quality, but with players leaving and others coming in you need to adapt, and that takes time," said midfielder Florent Balmont after the Bayern defeat. "I think we are getting there, we need to keep working hard but little by little things will improve."
As Lille battle to remain competitive, Garcia's record in the transfer market has come in for criticism. The inconsistent Payet has yet to justify the €8 million spent to bring him from Saint-Etienne last year, while Marvin Martin has had a slow start since arriving from Sochaux for a fee that could rise to €12 million. Former Auxerre captain Benoît Pedretti has often struggled, and Salomon Kalou has managed just one goal since joining on a free from Chelsea. Having received a reported €2 million signing-on fee, and €60,000 weekly wages, better is expected.
Unlike most other clubs in France, there is no sporting director at Lille to look after player recruitment, so Garcia has had a major say in most of these signings. Now in his fifth season in charge, it remains to be seen what his position will be if his new-look team fails to finish in the top three, or at least the top five, come May. In the meantime, earning local bragging rights against their in-form neighbours was at least a step back in the right direction.