" I'm a bit of a Jacobin "
The Jacobin Club, Paris
Being a 'Jacobin' originally meant being a member of the Jacobin Club during the French Revolution (1789–1794), i.e. being a revolutionary. It has since come to mean being a Republican. Despite France's evolution into the Third Republic, in Proust's time there were still a large number of the upper classes clinging on to titles from imperial and monarchical times.
" you're going to Balbec "
Although Balbec is mentioned in Swann's Way,
the narrator doesn't travel there until the second volume of In Search of Lost Time, Within a Budding Grove
(which is also sometimes translated as In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower).
It is a fictionalised version of Cabourg in Normandy.
" Anatole France - an enchanter "
Anatole France (1844-1924), born François-Anatole Thibault,was a French poet, journalist, and hugely successful novelist, winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.
" the land of the Cimmerians in the Odyssey "
The Cimmerians, mentioned in Herodotus, were a nomadic tribe said to originate in the Caucasus. In Homer's Odyssey, the Cimmerians appear as a mythical people living in a land of fog and darkness at the entrance of Hades, the underworld.
" two ways which we used to take for our walks "
These two paths, the Méséglise (or Swann's) and the Guermantes ways, form not only two titles to volumes in the Search (Swann's Way and The Guermantes Way, volume III) but also two thematic 'paths' through the book, drawing a distinction between the familiar bourgeois world of the narrator's family and the aristocratic world of the Faubourg Saint-Germain. (See the Summary).