The Biarritz back replaces Julien Dupuy, who was dropped from the squad after a poor performance as France lost 24-22 to England on Sunday.
Yachvili's return after a three-game absence comes a week too late for some supporters and French media, who were unhappy he was overlooked by manager Philippe Saint-Andre for the England game despite being fit enough to play for his club.
Yachvili will link up with standoff Lionel Beauxis for the Cardiff match, a repeat of their controversial World Cup semi-final, and means utility half-back Morgan Parra will sit on the bench for the second consecutive game.
"Dimitri and Morgan are experienced, they have a huge background with this team. Dimitri is now 100 per cent fit after playing some good matches with his club," Saint-Andre said.
"Welsh centres and wingers have this particular ability to break you on the first tackles. Wales are also very dangerous in the turnovers so the scrumhalf will have a lot to do," he said.
Saint-Andre made four other changes to the team defeated by England, with hooker William Servat back in the line-up for the last time, while prop David Attoub, centre Florian Fritz and winger Alexis Palisson will start for the first time this year.
"Vincent Clerc and Maxime Medard suffered injuries. We wanted some fresh blood even if the team's frame stayed the same for the whole championship," Saint-Andre said.
Fritz should bring power to the backline and his inclusion forces Wesley Fofana, who has scored tries in each of France's four Six Nations matches, to move to the wing.
"Wesley is able to play either as number 12, 13 or as winger. We worked on the defensive moves because we can't be satisfied with the three tries England scored," Saint-Andre said.
Servat, 34, will retire from international rugby after the match along with flanker Julien Bonnaire.
"They deserved to start this game. There will be emotion in the changing room. The players want to stick around them," Saint-Andre added.
15-Clement Poitrenaud, 14-Wesley Fofana, 13-Aurelien Rougerie, 12-Florian Fritz, 11-Alexis Palisson, 10-Lionel Beauxis, 9-Dimitri Yachvili, 8-Imanol Harinordoquy, 7-Julien Bonnaire, 6-Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5-Yoann Maestri, 4-Pascal Pape, 3-David Attoub, 2-William Servat, 1-Jean-Baptiste Poux.
Replacements: 16-Dimitri Szarzewski, 17-Vincent Debaty, 18-Julien Pierre, 19-Louis Picamoles, 20-Morgan Parra, 21-Francois Trinh-Duc, 22-Jean-Marcellin Buttin.