Olympique Marseille, regarded by many as title favourites, won 2-0 at Grenoble when the Ligue 1 season got underway on Saturday.
Last season's runners-up Marseille took the points courtesy of an early goal by Senegal striker Mamadou Niang and a superb late volley by midfielder Benoit Cheyrou.
The southerners have been busy on the transfer market, notably purchasing Argentine internationals Gabriel Heinze and Lucho Gonzalez as well as former Spain striker Fernando Morientes.
They also welcomed back Didier Deschamps, who was their captain when they lifted the European Cup in 1993, their last trophy to date, and is now the Marseille coach.
"It's never easy to start with an away match but I liked the way we controlled the game," Deschamps told reporters. "It's three points so it's a good start, even if everything was not perfect."
Olympique Lyon, who had won seven titles in a row before finishing third last season, needed a last-minute goal by new signing Lisandro Lopez to salvage a 2-2 draw at Le Mans.
"The result is a bit frustrating but I liked some of the things I saw, notably the fact that we managed to twice come back from a goal down," Lyon coach Claude Puel told reporters."
Stade Rennes became the early leaders courtesy of a 3-0 win over promoted Boulogne, whose first season in the top flight promises to be tough.
Paris St Germain had to be content with a 1-1 draw at promoted Montpellier, who were down to 10 men after losing defender Cyril Jeunechamp for a second booking after 33 minutes but shared the points with a late equaliser by Bosnia defender Emir Spahic.
"When you're PSG and you're got one more player than the other side, you must win," Paris St Germain coach Antoine Kombouare told reporters.
Champions Girondins Bordeaux kick off their campaign by welcoming promoted Racing Lens on Sunday.