I based in Carcassonne (at a campground walking distance to the La Cite) to visit Foix, Alet les Bains, Perepteruse and Queribus. I wasn't going east so I didn't visit Perpignon. Foix was my favorite (not on Rick's radar). I liked Carcassonne as a base but only went into La Cite one evening from about 8 until about 11.
The area is beautiful. It wasn't dry like Provence. It reminded me more of the rolling green hills of Burgundy; lots of forests and farms, with small villages. I didn't see anywhere else that seemed like it would make a good base.
I wasn't impressed with Rick's coverage of the area. Carcassonne at night was perfectly nice. But his review led me to avoid it during the day. I really like that it's open for visits at night, even if the places inside are closed. There are stripes on one side of the cite (supposed to be there for 100 days). It's an art installation. They only make sense from the entrance viewpoint on the opposite side from the popular entrance (they reminded me of the old TV show Time Tunnel).
I also liked Najac north of Albi. Najac has a nice castle and it's village and church are located along a ridge, very picturesque. Cordes sur Ciel (also trashed by Rick) lived up to it's reputation. The crowds in early June weren't bad and the town certainly competes as the prettiest anywhere. I didn't think much of Albi (Rick's recommendation). The church is good but the city is meh and I'm not a big Lautrec fan.
Not sure how far north you're are going. I was much less impressed with Rocamadour than Conques. Conques was terrific. Pech Merle was my choice for cave paintings. I was happy with my choice.
Once you get up to the Dordogne, I think Rick's recommendations are good.