Federer, who won the title in Melbourne in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2010, was rarely troubled against his French rival as he breezed to a 6-2 6-4 6-1 victory.
The world No.46 simply had no answer to a glorious array of shots from Federer, who has never lost in the opening round in Melbourne.
"I do have some options in my game and I used them well today," Federer said. "I kept coming in at him as well to shorten the rallies and make him feel the pressure. I guess that was the good play today against him."
Next up for Federer is a second round duel with Russian veteran Nikolay Davydenko, who came through his opening match in four sets against Dudi Sela.
Former runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga racked up a convincing straight-sets win - with the seventh seed seeing off compatriot Michael Llodra 6-4 7-5 6-2.
Florian Mayer came from two sets down to end the challenge of American Rhyne Williams.
The No 25 seed was on the brink of an early exit but he held his nerve to come out on top 2- 3-6 6-2 7-6 (14-12) 6-1.
No 17 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber was a more convincing winner as he overcame Steve Darcis 6-2 6-3 6-4, while Andreas Seppi, the 21st seed from Italy, was a 6-2 6-4 6-2 victor over Horacio Zeballos.
The No.29 seed Thomaz Bellucci, though, bowed out after a 6-3 6-1 6-3 loss to Blaz Kavcic.
In the late match, Bernard Tomic, the talented young Australian who claimed his first title in Sydney last week, proved far too strong for Leonardo Mayer, going through his full repertoire to win 6-3 6-2 6-3.