Vahid Halihodzic's side was in action for the first time since the body recovered from a plane wreckage in the English Channel was confirmed as that of its former striker.
Sala, who last month signed for Premier League side Cardiff City, and pilot David Ibbotson were on board a Piper Malibu aircraft that disappeared on 21 January.
Nantes confirmed it would retire the number nine shirt worn by the Argentine during his time at the club and players from the French outfit were involved in attaching his jersey to one of the goal nets at Stade de la Beaujoire.
Tickets to the match against Nimes were sold for a symbolic €9, with fans displaying a large tifo bearing the number prior to kick-off.
Supporters from both clubs also chanted Sala's name during the ninth minute of the game.