The Australian powered around the technical course, which included a sharp climb of around 200m near the finish, in 7-39 to set the best time and take the first yellow jersey of the race in what is his first race of the season.
Minutes earlier, Dumoulin had knocked Cannondale‘s Patrick Bevin off the top of the leaderboard by just a second but his time wasn’t good enough to see off Matthews.
Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas crossed the line in seventh place, seven seconds down on the leader, gaining nine seconds on general classification rival Alberto Contador (Tinkoff). Movistar’s Ion Izagirre finished a second ahead of Thomas in fifth place
Paris-Nice prologue, Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (6.7km)
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, 7-39
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin, at 1s
3. Patrick Bevin (NZl) Cannondale, at 2s
4. Jesus Herrada (Esp) Movistar, at 6s
5. Ion Izagirre (Esp) Movistar, st
6. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana, at 7s
7. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, st
8. Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling, at 8s
9. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie, at 9s
10. Jerome Coppel (Fra) IAM Cycling, st