Federer, the top seed, broke the Frenchman once in each set en route to a comfortable 6-4 6-4 win in his first appearance at the tournament in seven years. The Swiss has never previously failed to reach at least the quarter-finals.
Second seed Tomas Berdych was an equally convincing winner over Czech compatriot Lukas Rosol, winning 6-4 6-2, but third seed Juan Martin Del Potro was extended before seeing off Michael Llodra 6-4 6-7 (3/7) 6-4.
Also in first round action, Marcos Baghdatis beat German qualifier Matthias Bachinger 7-6 (7/2) 6-2 and there were wins for Alex Bogomolov Jr and qualifier Karol Beck.
In two second round matches played on Wednesday, Finland's Jarkko Nieminen beat Lukas Kubot 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7/2), and Nikolay Davydenko saw off Paul-Henri Mathieu of France 6-4 6-7 (7/9) 6-1.