Aigle Azur files for bankruptcy.
The vast majority — 11,000 people — are stuck in Algeria, according to Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, France's secretary of state for transport.
The airline, which carried around 1.9 million passengers last year, filed for bankruptcy last week and on Friday night canceled all of its flights.
Efforts to rescue those stranded passengers could take weeks, according to Djebbari.
"On Friday night, I had a meeting with all French airlines and I asked them to play their part in the repatriation. I especially would like to thank Air France for chartering additional flights to Algeria," he said.
"We think that over the course of three weeks we will have dealt with most of the passenger flow," the minister added.
Aigle Azur specialized in flying between France and Algeria, before pursuing an unsuccessful expansion "to the whole Maghreb," according to Djebbari.