Scottish pair Paul Lawrie and Stephen Gallacher beat veteran duo Miguel Angel Jimenez and Thomas Bjorn 3&2 in the first match out after recovering from an early deficit.
But Finland's Mikko Ilonen and Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen were two up on the unbeaten Chris Wood - who won four and a half points out of five in 2009 - and debutant Tommy Fleetwood after 15 holes, while Italian pair Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero were one up on Paul Casey and Simon Khan after 14.
Joost Luiten and home favourite Gregory Bourdy were also two up on Jamie Donaldson and David Lynn after 13 holes, the in-form Luiten having gone to the turn in an approximate six-under-par 29.
And in the final game, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Nicolas Colsaerts were two up on Marc Warren and Scott Jamieson with six to play.
Jimenez had birdied the first and third but Gallacher matched the second of those and then crucially saved par on the fifth to prevent his side from going two down.
Lawrie then used a driver for his second shot on the par-five seventh and smashed it onto the green from 257 yards to set up a winning birdie, Gallacher putting the Scots ahead on the next from 20ft.
A par on the 10th was enough to double the lead but Jimenez hit back with a birdie on the 11th and Bjorn looked to have levelled the match when he chipped in for birdie on the 13th, only for Gallacher to follow him in from 12ft.
Further birdies on the 15th and 16th then sealed the win and a delighted Lawrie told Sky Sports: "It's always nice to win. Obviously there is a little bit more pressure when you are going out there first, you want to get a point on the board which we managed to do and we both combined very well today."
Colsaerts and Fernandez-Castano birdied the 13th and 14th and duly completed a 4&3 victory on the next before Ilonen and Olesen held on to beat Wood and Fleetwood on the last.
The European pair had been two up with three to play but gifted their opponents the 16th by both finding water off the tee and were eventually grateful to see Wood miss from eight feet for a birdie on the 18th which would have secured half a point.
Casey and Khan had birdied the 15th and 16th to move one up on Molinari and Manassero and remained one up with one to play.
Molinari hit a wild drive on the last but found a perfect line into the green from an adjacent fairway and duly made a birdie from six feet to snatch half a point.
And when Luiten birdied the 17th to close out a 2&1 victory over Donaldson and Lynn, Europe ended the day leading by three and a half points to one and a half.