EU transport officials are considering opening air corridors but not the entire European airspace, France's environment minister said on Monday.
"We are trying to do a realistic analysis of risks," Jean-Louis Borloo told a news briefing before a conference call of EU transport ministers to resolve the volcano crisis.
Most of Europe's airspace has been closed since Thursday after a huge ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano spread out, stranding millions of business passengers and holidaymakers and paralysing freight and business worldwide.
Borloo said France would try to allow as many take-offs and landings as as possible on Monday.
"We are more willful than other countries in trying to resume commercial links as fast as possible and allow the repatriation of our stranded compatriots," Borloo said.
The use of military vessels to bring back French citizens was not an option for now, Borloo added.