Bastareaud, who has been chosen at the expense of Florian Fritz in one of two changes to the side which lost 23-18 in Italy in last Sunday's opener, started his last game with Les Bleus in a 2010 Six Nations match against England.
Manager Philippe Saint-Andre handed Jocelino Suta a start at lock to make up for the absence of Pascal Pape, who pulled out with a back injury.
Bastareaud - who has 10 caps for France - has been rewarded for his strong performances with his club Toulon, who lead the French Top 14.
The 24-year-old had been overlooked in recent years because of poor form after being omitted following off-the-pitch troubles in 2009.
Saint-Andre otherwise kept faith with the team who were outplayed in the shock in Rome.
"You say you don't change a winning team. Well, we say we don't change a losing team. The players need to bounce back," he said.
"We keep this group so we can find collective solutions, not individual solutions."
Saint-Andre explained that Fritz's relegation to the bench was not a punishment.
"It's a strategic choice. We wanted a 10-12-13 liaison between players from the same club," he said.
"Florian will play (at some point), that's certain, and he will bring his energy."
France team: 15-Yoann Huget, 14-Wesley Fofana, 13-Mathieu Bastareaud, 12-Maxime Mermoz, 11-Benjamin Fall, 10-Frederic Michalak, 9-Maxime Machenaud, 8-Louis Picamoles, 7-Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 6-Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5-Yoann Maestri, 4-Jocelino Suta, 3-Nicolas Mas, 2-Dimitri Szarzewski, 1-Yannick Forestier
Replacements: 16-Benjamin Kayser, 17-Vincent Debaty, 18-Luc Ducalcon, 19-Romain Taofifenua, 20-Damien Chouly, 21-Morgan Parra, 22-Francois Trinh-Duc, 23-Florian Fritz
Wales team: 15-Leigh Halfpenny, 14-Alex Cuthbert, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Jamie Roberts, 11-George North, 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Mike Phillips, 8-Toby Faletau, 7-Justin Tipuric, 6-Ryan Jones (captain)7, 5-Ian Evans, 4-Andrew Coombs, 3-Adam Jones, 2-Richard Hibbard, 1-Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16-Ken Owens, 17-Paul James, 18-Craig Mitchell, 19-Lou Reed, 20-Aaron Shingler, 21-Lloyd Williams, 22-James Hook, 23-Scott Williams