Skip to Content

Grand-Mère – How to say Grandma / Grandmother in French

Grand-Mère – How to say Grandma / Grandmother in French

In today’s lesson we’ll take a look at the French names for “grandmother”. In French, the word for grandmother is grand-mère. However, people commonly call their grandmas mamie, mémé and mémère. Indeed, I remember using both of these terms when I was an exchange student in Douai, France in 1992. Today I’ve included a very touching photo at the bottom of the post. Allons-y mamie! (let’s go grandma!).



Grand-mère means grandmother in French. The French also use the terms mamie and mémé.

Grand-Mère: Grandmother / Grandma in French

Word origin

The French word grand-mère (grandmother) is comprised of the adjective grand (great) and the noun mère (mother). Grand comes form grandis (grand, advanced in age) in Latin and mère comes from māter in Latin. Two additional words worth noting here are: Grand-mère maternelle (maternal grandmother) and grand-mère paternelle (paternal grandmother).

Example sentences

This first example sentence uses the verb naître (to be born). In the passé composé (a commonly used French past tense), naître uses the auxiliary verb être (to be). This lesson on our site covers prepositions for places and this lesson covers how to say the date in French.

Ma grand-mère est née à Paris en 1942 (mille neuf cent quarante-deux).

My grandmother was born in Paris in 1942.

This next sentence uses the verb aller (to go) for expressing “going” to grandma’s house. However, we could just as easily have used the verb passer (to pass by). In this lesson we cover the French preposition chez (at the home of). This sentence is autobiographical. When was an exchange student I used to go across to street to see Mamie and she’d give me a candybar.

J’adore Mamie ! Elle me donne toujours des bonbons quand je vais chez elle.

I love grandma! She always gives me candy when I go to her house.

For this next example sentence, mémé is a common name used for grandma in the New England states where a large portion of the population is of French origin. This sentence uses the reflexive verb se souvenir (to remember). The sentence is in the imperfect tense, which is a past tense used to express “used to”. This lesson covers toujours, which means “always”.

Je me souviens très bien de Mémé. Elle me parlait toujours en français.

I remember grammy very well. She used to always speak to me in French.

In French, the word arrière (literally “back”) is added to grand-mère to mean great-grandmother. This sentence uses the verb savoir, which means to know something factual in nature.

Sais-tu le nom de ton arrière-grand-mère ?

Do you know your great-grandmother’s name?


Et voilà ! Now you know how to how to say grandmother in French! Now check out our lesson covering French family vocabulary (lesson includes 50+ beautifully created audio files).

This lesson is dedicated to my two grandmothers, Ruth and Pearl, ע״ה. A strange coincidence happened today. My mom just happened to text me this picture right after I finishing the writing and proofreading! Thanks for following my lessons, David

Sharing is caring!

Affiliate disclosure: Below you will find affiliate links. If you purchase something after clicking the link, we will receive a small commission. To learn more please visit our full disclosure page. Merci!

Sign up to download your free trial of À Moi Paris a French course which I recommend to my personal students to help with pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. After that, upgrade for access to 77 hours of audio lessons.

Read our full review of À Moi Paris and find out why we love it so much!

Are you struggling with French verb conjugations? Then we highly recommend French Today's French Verb Drills course. Get over 28 hours of audio exercises to build reflexes and dramatically improve your French level and confidence.

Read our full review of French Verb Drills and find out why we recommend this course!

David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site,, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

See all posts by