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Paris or Rome in March or possibly September/October

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Hi all. I have 10-12 days for either one of these cities. Problem is which one as I have equal interest in both. I like to travel during the shoulder seasons and can go either March or September/October. So another consideration is weather. Here's some more info that should be helpful.

I'm in my fifties, female, with NOT unlimited funds, so I'm looking to get the most for my money and feel somewhat safe as I'm traveling solo. I enjoy good basic food and wine but not in trendy, pretentious restaurants! I also love natural beauty (plan to take excursions out of the city) as opposed to a lot of museum-hopping. Love strolling, cafes and people-watching. Not interested in shopping. This is how I compared the two cities so far:

PARIS:
PROS: Love French films, literature, (a big Proust fan, would love to do a literary and film locations tour), very interested in seeing the Vaux le Vicomte as opposed to Versailles. Have the option of traveling to the south for natural beauty--maybe 6 days Paris, 6 days Provence/Cote d'Azur and fly home (Philadelphia) from Nice. Public transport seems to be good all around.
CONS: Cost. Also have the sense that Paris may have a certain formality I'll find off-putting. Not that people are unfriendly, but maybe a bit uptight as are most cities of its size. I imagine the atmosphere more laid-back in the south.

ROME:
PROS: Love Italian films, archaeology/ancient ruins and everything Mediterranean--food, landscapes, the light, etc. All-around more colorful city than Paris. Would love to visit Ostia Antica, Villa d'Este just outside Rome as well as the Mediterranean itself, but I'm not sure of the best places to do this. Capri seems overpriced and too touristy. Naples is of interest because of the Archaeological Museum, but not much else. The Apulia region sounds beautiful but quite far from Rome. Suggestions?
CONS: Fear Rome will be as overwhelming as Athens. The Acropolis and a couple museums made it worthwhile for me, but I couldn't wait to head for the islands!

Sorry for the long post, wanted to supply as much info as possible. Thanks!

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