Auxerre's 32-year stay in the French top flight came to an end this evening with defeat on the road at Marseille.
Goals by Rod Fanni, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andre-Pierre Gignac did the damage as Auxerre - French champions as recently as 1996 - became the first side to be relegated from Ligue 1 this season.
Marseille, who as Coupe de la Ligue winners have already qualified for the Europa League, are playing merely for pride at this stage of the season, and tonight's win means they have now taken seven points from the last nine available since snapping a 14-game winless streak.
Auxerre almost went ahead after a cagey start when Cedric Hengbart crossed for Alain Traore but his left-footed effort was blocked by Steve Mandanda.
The breakthrough arrived from a set-piece after 32 minutes, Mathieu Valbuena's corner finding the unmarked Fanni who emphatically nodded home.
Valbuena almost added a second goal after 49 minutes but Olivier Sorin saved, while within minutes Marseille suffered a blow when Loic Remy was forced off with a thigh injury that could hit the striker's hopes of representing France at Euro 2012.
The hosts added a second after 55 minutes when Benoit Cheyrou crossed to the far post and Azpilicueta was on hand to fire a powerful volley beyond Sorin.
Auxerre's last chance to salvage anything from the match came and went in the 70th minute when Omar Kossoko volley was hacked off the line by Fanni, and the threat of relegation became painful reality in the final minute when Gignac raced free down the right and fired low under Sorin to register his first league goal of the season.